Commentary: Should The NFL Press The Pause Button?

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Should the NFL press the pause button due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)? (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s business as usual for the National Football League (NFL).

The NFL Draft will be held later this month followed by a full season of football (it seems), beginning in September.

Care to disagree with commissioner Roger Goodell‘s plan to hold the draft later this month, then expect some sort of “disciplinary action.”

I get it, we all miss sports and need something to distract us during this unusual time. And while I go back-and-forth on this topic – should the league shutdown or press the pause button? – I do welcome Goodell’s decision as a much-needed distraction.

Having the 2020 NFL Draft on your calendar provides everyone with something to look forward to during a time that has forced many of us to stay home and consume grim reports (and concerns) about the growing number of individuals that have contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19).

But while the NFL Draft is one thing, I don’t think it is right for the league to announce on the final day of March that the entire 2020 season will be played “in front of fans.” And the reason I say this is because nobody seems to know when life, as we knew it from a few weeks back, will resume and permit gatherings of more than 10 people.

I get providing a glimmer of hope and optimism, but doesn’t it seem a bit premature to be expecting life to resume to normal during a time when Saturdays feel like Mondays?

As someone that is an optimist and looks at the glass half full, not half empty, I think it is way too early to be making plans for the fall. Instead, the NFL (and any other league) should just continue to think optimistically (like I am doing at this time) and engage with fans on a weekly or bi-weekly basis with updates on scheduled dates, times, and events.

Sports (and everything else) will resume eventually, but not this evening or tomorrow. And while I do welcome any sort of hope (and optimism) about not living in a world that feels like an eerie science fiction novel, I think it would be best for all leagues, along with any upcoming events and public gatherings to step on the breaks instead of implying that life will be normal at the end of the summer or early fall.

Noontime’s Sunday Sports Movies

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s a rainy Sunday, which means many of us, including myself, will be searching for a good movie to watch – maybe two (or three)?

And some of us, like myself, may want to watch a sports movie since there are no live games on television due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

So, with many of us searching for a new or old movie to watch this morning or afternoon, here are some suggestions from Noontime Sports, enjoy!

42. Hands down, this is one of my favorite baseball movies. I actually watched this film last weekend – it fills your baseball void, I swear!

Travel back to the late 1940s to learn about Jackie Robinson‘s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, which saw the Blue and White win the National League and advance to the 1947 World Series against the New York Yankees.

The Express. Sticking the historical theme – I majored in American Studies, so I love history! – jump back in time with your football and shoulder pads to learn about Ernie Davis, who was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.

Davis, who is played by Rob Brown, is recruited to play college football at Syracuse University by both head coach Ben Schwartzwalder (Dennis Quaid) and Jim Brown, who is one of the greatest halfbacks in the National Football League (NFL).

Miracle. So, I am currently reading Mike Eruzione‘s The Making of a Miracle, which means I will probably watch this movie once I finish. And if you are craving some hockey with the National Hockey League (NHL) at a standstill, then consider cheering on the 1980 U.S.A. men’s team, which defeated both the Soviet Union and Finland to win the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.

The Replacements. Alright, let’s switch gears from historical movies to a comedy.

Gene Hackman inherits a team of replacements during a professional football strike that needs to win three of its final four contests to reach the playoffs. And for the team to reach the postseason, Hackman will need quarterback Shane Falco, who is played by Keanu Reeves, to guide his offense.

Space Jam. Missing basketball, especially the Boston Celtics, then consider rooting for the Tune Squad, which is made up of some of your favorite Looney Tunes characters, as well as … Michael Jordan.

61*. Director Billy Crystal, who happens to be a die-hard New York Yankees fan, takes you back to 1961 when both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle begin their respective quests to break Babe Ruth‘s 1927 single-season home run record.

Draft Day. We’re 25 days away from the 2020 NFL Draft, so get ready to celebrate your team’s initial pick by seeing who the Cleveland Browns will select in the 2014 Draft. Kevin Costner, who is the team’s general manager, seems to know his team needs a bit more than newly acquired head coach Denis Leary.

Additional movies to watch:

  • Moneyball (baseball)
  • The Blind Side (football)
  • Invictus (rugby)
  • Glory Road (basketball)
  • Coach Carter (basketball)
  • Million Dollar Baby (boxing)
  • Cinderella Man (boxing)
  • Remember the Titans (football)
  • Slap Shot (hockey)
  • A League of Their Own (baseball)
  • Hoosiers (basketball)
  • Bull Durham (baseball)
  • The Mighty Ducks (hockey)
  • Rudy (football)
  • The Sandlot (baseball)
  • Eight Men Out (baseball)
  • Field of Dreams (baseball)
  • Happy Gilmore (golf)

As always, be well, stay safe, and think optimistically, friends – we will continue to get through this time and we’ll be back soon with some new content! 

Daily Noontime: Friday, March 20th, 2020

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

Welcome to Friday (or as we like to call it, Fri-yay!).

It has been quite the week – when will the new normal end? – but like I did yesterday, I will continue to produce a ‘Daily Noontime’ going forward with hopes of putting a smile on everyone’s faces during this unique time (and the life we’re living these days).

Alright, it is official: Tom Brady is officially a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In a release (and story this morning from the Buccaneers’ website), the team’s General Manager Jason Licht said Brady will “immediately impact our entire organization.”

Indeed, Brady will make an impact on the Bucs, who finished their 2019 season with seven wins and nine losses.

But doesn’t it seem strange (or bizarre) to think Brady will end his historic career with the Buccaneers? I mean, I think so, but Joe Montana ended his career, not with the San Francisco 49ers, but the Kansas City Chiefs. Again, this just seems weird, but again, we’re living in unusual times.

So, with no Brady under center, it is time to embrace Jarrett Stidham, but maybe we should also Jameis Winston, too. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler thinks (and believes) that the former Buccaneers quarterback could be an ideal replacement for the Patriots, but do we really want a quarterback that threw 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions last season?

In other National Football League (NFL) news, the “stay at home” order in California could impact the completion of SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The new home of the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams was supposed to be ready for the upcoming season, but due to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the “stay at home” order could mean a delay on the league’s new crown jewel.

In an interesting op-ed piece from the Los Angeles Times, there is a thought of building a people mover to the stadium, along with the shops and office space, which will be built nearby. Not a bad idea and it would decrease traffic, too.

Let’s switch gears to some quick hitters (and what occurred on this date in the past few months, years, and decades), beginning with wishing Bobby Orr a happy birthday!

On This Date in History: 

  • 1934: Babe Didrikson Zaharias pitched one inning in a Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training game for the Philadelphia Athletics. She gave up one walk but not hits in a single frame against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
  • 1965: UCLA beat Michigan in the 27th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
  • 1973: Roberto Clemente was elected to the MLB 11 weeks after his death in a plane crash.
  • 1989: Baseball announced former Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose is under investigation for betting on baseball games.
  • 1990: The Los Angeles Lakers retired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s number (No. 33).

As usual, please be well and be safe, take care of your family, and we’ll have more content on Brady (and some other topics) later today and this weekend! 

Tom Brady Will Not Return To New England

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Where will Tom Brady play in 2020? PHOTO COURTESY: Charles Krupa / Associated Press/LA Times

By Matt Noonan 

Tom Brady plans to play football later this year. But it won’t be with the New England Patriots.

The six-time Super Bowl champion finally broke his silence about his plans for the upcoming season this morning on Twitter, announcing his “football journey will take place elsewhere.”

Exactly where Brady will play remains a mystery – Indianapolis? Los Angeles? Tampa Bay? – but we should learn of his plans either later today or tomorrow once free agency truly begins at 4 p.m. eastern.

Excluding his announcement of taking his talents elsewhere, Brady did acknowledge in a pair of tweets how grateful he was to compete for the Patriots for the past 20 years. “I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life,” he tweeted, “and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values.”

A six-round pick in the 2000 National Football League (NFL) Draft, Brady helped the Patriots win not just one, but six Super Bowls, including three in four seasons (2001, 2003, and 2004). The veteran signal-caller cemented his name alongside Boston sports greats – Bill RussellBobby OrrLarry BirdTed Williams, and others, of course – for his impressive play on the gridiron.

Noontime Nation Sports Business & Tech Notebook (Friday, Jan. 24th, 2020)

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By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

Happy Friday, Noontime Nation fans and friends – hope you’re ready for a great weekend!

I am excited to introduce a new weekly piece of content – our Noontime Nation Sports Business and Tech notebook – which will highlight some Massachusetts news from the sports (and athletic) technology, business, and start-up world.

As someone that is passionate about sports business, start-ups, and technology, I am excited to introduce this new content that I hope you (and others) will enjoy and share.

Have a great weekend and thanks for checking out our first-ever Sports Business and Technology notebook here on NoontimeSports.com


News and Links from the Boston Sports Business & Tech World

  • PlayEasy was recently named to Built In Boston’s 50 Startups to Watch in 2020.

    PlayEasy – for those that may not be familiar with this company – is the equivalent of OpenTable when it comes to reserving basketball courts, skating rinks, and playing fields. The company is connected with more than 500 athletic facilities.

  • The Sports Innovation Lab recently examined in a blog post the ‘Power of Togetherness,’ as well as how sports are creating ‘a sense of community.’
  • In a recent interview with FancredMatt Lombardo doesn’t think that Eli Manning, who quarterbacked the New York Giants to two Super Bowls, is a lock for Canton, Ohio (the National Football League).

    Fans can subscribe to the Fancred YouTube channel, so you won’t miss future videos (like the one above!) by CLICKING HERE!

  • Don’t miss the first DraftKings Over/Under Show tomorrow morning (Saturday, January 25th, 2020) on 98.5 The Sports Hub at 7 a.m. The show will be hosted by Joe Murray and Dan Lifshatz.

    This is exciting news for the hyper-local daily fantasy company to continue expanding its brand through a well-listened to radio station in Boston, but also perhaps reach some new users, too.

    I’m looking forward to tuning in – Joe Murray is an old friend of the site that appeared on our podcasts back in 2010 and 2011.


Upcoming Events to Attend (and network!) in Massachusetts 


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